'Legacies': How 'The Originals' spin-off got it right with LGBTQ representation once again
Both 'The Originals' and 'Legacies' do not get enough credit for portraying same-sex relationships on screen the right way and not giving into a certain stereotype.
CW's 'Legacies' has time and time again been applauded for their storyline, their varied characters and how they've successfully carried the torch from 'The Originals' without disappointing fans. However, both 'The Originals' and 'Legacies' do not get enough credit for portraying same-sex relationships on screen right - because let's face it, not many shows are capable of pulling it off without encouraging a stereotype.
'Legacies' has in the past been lauded by fans for representing a wide variety of races and ethnicities in their cast and rising above stereotypes for the sake of being relatable. The truth is, the show seems to understand the broad spectrum of sexuality incredibly well. It understands that its characters are more than just a funny gay dude or a sexy lesbian and it is absolutely refreshing to see. A trend set by 'The Originals', 'Legacies' has followed suit and Josie Saltzman and Penelope Park are proof that this show knows it's in 2018.
This was perhaps a way to gather their wits after the backlash that 'The Vampire Diaries', another show in the same universe received in 2016 when Heretics Mary Louise and Nora, also supernaturals, were killed off on the show. At the time, they were the only LGBTQ characters on the show and their story lacked the depth that we see in characters who came after the series ended.
📸| The Originals 5x11 “Til the Day I Die” Freya and Keelin and Kol New Photos Season 5 Episode 11 pic.twitter.com/J2JgYa3iYK— ~TheOriginals~ (@OriginalsDaily1) June 29, 2018
'The Originals', the spin-off that came after 'The Vampire Diaries' had Freya Mikaelson and Keelin - a couple that beat all odds and chose to be happy in spite of all the dangers involved. The show made sure that their story started off like every other straight story on the show - they initially did not like each other. Understandably too. Freya was stealing her blood to cure Marcel Gerard. Keelin was a werewolf and Freya, a witch. It was a while before the two realized that they actually cared about each other before eventually marrying in the final season of 'The Originals'. There were no stereotypes involved either - it was so much deeper than the way a lesbian couple is portrayed on screen. They had depth of character, they were individuals with hopes and dreams and although they were lesbians, it was just a part of their character - not the entire thing.
Similarly, with 'Legacies', we have pretty noticeable straight and bisexual characters all over the show - it normalizes sexual orientation the right way. It does not define any of the characters by who they love, it defines them by their powers, personalities in the story arc. For instance, while we absolutely love to see Josie and Penelope together, their sexual orientation has no impact on the story. Their relationship could affect the storyline in the future, but who they are remains the same - we don't love them less or more for it.
Even before 'Legacies' aired this September, showrunner Julie Plec had made it clear that the series would be up to date with the times. Firstly, Plec chose to remove romantic arcs that involved 1000-year-old vamps dating 20-year-olds -- something that was looked at uncomfortably by fans. The show has also repeatedly talked about current topics like feminism, inclusion, racism as well as sexual orientation through their extremely well written teenage characters, making the story very relatable to the current generation. At first, people weren't too sure about how it would all pan out. After all, it not only had to live up to the expectations that the multiple seasons of 'The Vampire Diaries' and 'The Originals' had set - it also had to find a find a way to stand out on its own. Clearly, Plec knew what she was doing.